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spend too much time in the immediate exercise of religion; which thing was exceedingly misrepresented by reports that were spread in distant parts of the land, as though the people here bad wholly thrown by all worldly business, and betook themselves entirely to reading and praying, and such like religious exercises.
But though the people did not ordinarily neglect their worldly business, yet there then was the reverse of what commonly is. Religion was with all sorts the great concern, and the world was a thing only by the by. The only thing in their view was to get the kingdom of heaven, and every one appeared pressing into it. The engagedness of their hearts in this great concern could not be bid; it appeared in their very countenances. It then was a dreadful thing amongst us to lie out of Christ, in danger every day of dropping into hell; and what persons' minds were intent upon was to escape for their lives, and to fly from the wrath to come.
All would eagerly lay hold of opportunities for their souls, and were
often to meet together in private houses for religious purposes; and such meetings, when appointed, were wont greatly to be thronged. There was scarcely a single
person in the town, either old or young, that was left unconcerned about the great things of the eternal world. Those that were wont to be the vainest, and loosest, and those that had been most disposed to think and speak slightly of vital and experimental religion, were now generally subject to great awakenings. And the work of conversion was carried on in a most astonishing manner, and increased more and more; souls did, as it were, come by flocks to Jesus Christ. From day to day, for many months together, might be seen evident instances of sinners brought out of darkness into marvellous highl, and delivered out of an horrible pit, and from the miry clay, and set upon a rock with a new song of praise to God in their mouths.
This work of God, as it was carried on, and the number of true saints multiplied, soon made a glorious alteration in the town; so that in the spring and summer following, Anno 1735, the town seemed to be full of the presence of God. It never was so full of love, por su
full of joy; and yet so full of distress as it was then. There were remarkable tokens of God's presence in almost every house. It was a time of joy in families on the account of salvation's being brought unto them; parents rejoicing over their children as new born, and husbands over their wives, and wives over their husbands. The doings of God were then seen in his sanctuary, God's day was a delight, and his tabernacles were amiable. Our public assemblies were then beautiful; the congregation was alive in God's service, every one earnestly intent on the public worship, every hearer eager to drink in the words of the minister as they came from his mouth; the assembly in general were, from time to time in tears, while the word was preached; some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbors.
Our public praises were then greatly enlivened. God was then served in our psalmody, in some measure, in the beauty of holiness. It has been observable, that there has been scarce any part of divine worship, wherein good men amongst us have had grace so drawn forth, and their hearts so lifted up in the ways of God, as in singing his praises. Our congregation excelled all that ever I knew in the external part of the duty before, the men generally carrying regularly and well, three parts of music, and the women a part by themselves: But now they were evidently wont to sing with unusual elevation of heart and voice, which made the duty pleasant indeed.
In all companies, on other days, on whatever occasions persons met together, Christ was to be heard of, and seen in the midst of them. Our young people, when they met, were wont to spend the time in talking of the excellency and dying love of Jesus Christ, the gloriousness of the way of salvation, the wonderful, free, and sovereign grace of God, his glorious work in the conversion of a soul, the truth and certainty of the great things of God's word, the sweetness of the views of his perfections, &c. And even at weddings, which formerly were . merely occasions of mirth and jollity, there was now no discourse of any thing but the things of religion, and no appearance of any but spiritual mirth.
Those amongst us that had been formerly converted, were greatly enlivened and renewed with fresh and extraordinary incomes of the spirit of God; though some much more than others, according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Many that before had labored under difficulties about their own state, had now their doubts removed by more satisfying experience, and more clear discoveries of God's love.
When this work of God first appeared, and was so extraordinarily carried on amongst us in the winter, others round about us seemed not to know what to make of it; and there were many that scoffed at, and ridiculed it; and some compared what we called conversion to certain distempers. But it was very observable of many, that occasionally came amongst us from abroad, with disregardful hearts, that what they saw here cured them of such a temper of mind. Strangers were generally surprised to find things so much beyond what they had heard, and were wont to tell others that the state of the town could not be conceived of by those that had not seen it. The notice that was taken of it by the people that came to town on occasion of the court that sat here in the beginning of March, was very observable. And those that came from the neighborhood to our public lectures, were for the most part remarkably affected. Many that came to town on one occasion or other, had their consciences smitten, and awakened, and went home with wounded hearts, and with those impressions that never wore off till they had hopefully a saving issue; and those that before had serious thoughts, had their awakenings and convictions greatly increased. And there were many instances of persons that came from abroad, on visits, or on business, that had not been long here before, to all appearance, they were savingly wrought upon, and partook of that shower of divine blessing that God rained down here, and went home rejoicing; till at length the same work began evidently to appear and prevail in several other towns in the county:
In the month of March, the people in South Hadley began to be seized with deep concern about the things of religion; which very soon became universal; and the work of God has been very wonderful there; not much, if any thing, short of what it has been here, in proportiori to the size of the place.
About the same time it began to break forth in the west part of Suffield, (where it has also been very great) and it scon spread into all parts of the town. It next appeared at Sunderland, and soon overspread the town; and I believe was for a season, not less remarkable than it was here. About the same time it began to appear in a part of Deerfield, called Green River, and afterwards filled the town, and there has been a glorious work there. It began also to be manifest in the south part of Hatfield, in a place called the Hill; and after that the whole town, in the second week in April, seemed to be seized, as it were at once, with concern about the things of religion; and the work of God has been great there. There has been also a very general awakening at West Springfield, and Long Meadow; and in Enfield there was, for a time, a pretty general concern amongst some that before had been very loose persons. About the same time that this appeared at Enfield, the Rev. Mr. Bull of Westfield, informed me that there had been a great alteration there, and that more had been done in one week there than in seven years before.-Something of this work likewise appeared in the first precinct in Springfield, principally in the north and south extremes of the parish. And in Hadley old town, there gradually appeared so much of a work of God on so as at another time would have been thought worthy of much notice. For a short time there was also a very great and general concern, of the like nature, at Northfield.
And wherever this concern appeared, it seemed not to be in vain; but in every place God brought saving blessings with him, and his word attended with his spirit (as we have all reason to think) returned not void. It might well be said at that time in all par s of the county, Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as doves to their windows?
As what other towns heard of and found in this, was a great means of awakening them, so our hearing of such a swift, and extraordinary propagation, and extent of this work, did doubtless, for a time, serve to uphold the work amongst us.
The continual news kept alive the talk of religion, and did greatly quicken and rejoice the hearts of God's people, and much awakened those that looked on themselves as still left behind, and made them the more earnest that they also might share in the great 'blessing that others had obtained.
This remarkable pouring out of the spirit of God, which thus extended from one end to the other of this county, was not confined to it, but many places in Connecticut have partook in the same mercy. As for instance the first parish in Windsor, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Mr. Marsh, was thus blest about the same time, as we in Northampton, while we had no knowledge of each other's circumstances. There has been a very great ingathering of souls to Christ in that place, and something considerable of the same work began afterwards in East Windsor; my honored father's parish, which has in times past, been a place favored with mercies of this nature, above any on this western side of New England, excepting Northampton; there having been four or five seasons of the pouring out of the spirit to the general awakening of the people there, since my father's settlement amongst them.
There was also the last spring and summer a wonderful work of God carried on at Coventry, under the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Meacham. I had opportunity to converse with some of the Coventry people, who gave me a very remarkable account of the surprising change that appeared in the most rude and vicious persons there. The like was also very great at the same time in a part of Lebanon, called the Crank, where the Rev. Mr. Wheelock, a young gentleman, is lately settled. And there has been much of the same at Durham, under the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Chauncey; and to appearance, no small ingathering of souls there. And likewise amongst many of the young people in the first precinct in Stratford, under the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Gould, where the work was much promoted by the remarkable conversion of a young woman that had been a great company keeper, as it was here.
Something of this work appeared in several other